I just saw Clive Owen in "Closer," but last night I also watched him in "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead," a drama-thriller about an ex-gangster who hunts down the man who raped his brother and caused his suicide.
From a genre perspective, "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" is a revenge thriller, but considering the fact Owen's character, Will, only discovers the truth about his brother's death with 25 minutes left in the film, it is more of a drama than anything else. Really, it's hard to determine what category this film should fit into. Nothing really happens for the first hour, but it isn't boring. Of course, it isn't explosively entertaining, either.
Owen does a terrific job in the lead, suggesting yet again he has the talent to become a big star. His performance in "Closer" was better than any of his co-stars, and he's equally powerful here. Of course, the failure of his two major Hollywood pictures, "King Arthur" and "Beyond Borders," doesn't help his chances...
In the end, "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" is a fairly realistic portrayal of the kind of thing one might do if they sought revenge; thankfully, director Mike Hodges keeps the story from being drab. On the other hand, those looking for a violent revenge thriller will be disappointed, and those seeking pure drama won't have interest in this kind of film to begin with.
"I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" is a pretty decent film, but it isn't clear what audience the film is targeting.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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